Fatur Rachman is a 29-year-old from Jember, East Java, who has been installing false teeth for the past nine years, some of it in Bali. Living in Denpasar with his wife and two daughters, he shared his day with The Bali Times Arga Sagitarini. I wake up at 5am every day to wash myself in preparation for my morning prayer. I’m Muslim so I pray five times a day and after my morning prayer I go back to sleep until about 8.30am, which is when I make the five-minute drive to my clinic.

The building where I have my clinic is shared between a friend and I and his wife and him use their part as a shop. Outside the clinic I have signposts advertising me as a false teeth expert. Patients don’t come on a regular basis to the clinic; there are days when I have lots of patients to treat, and some when I have none at all. Sometimes people come to my home wanting to be treated but I never do it there; I always treat them at my clinic, as that’s where all the equipment is. So my wife tells them where to find it if I’m not at home to tell them myself.

The clinic may not be as good as the dentist’s but it’s simple and always clean and well looked after. My patients vary in age, some young, some old and they need false teeth for reasons such as disease, accidents or simply old age. I once had someone who had lost all their teeth and it took three hours to fit all the false teeth they needed.

The prices for the teeth vary and it depends on the quality that the patient requires. The cheapest are Rp75,000 (US$8.35) per tooth while the better quality and more expensive ones are Rp350,000 per tooth. The teeth are made from porcelain that I buy in Denpasar but they don’t last forever. Their life span is around three to seven years, depending on how well a patient looks after them. The better they are looked after, the longer they will last.

I often skip meals, including lunch, as I just don’t have the appetite. My wife always prepares the meals; I’m still a lazy cook from when I was single.

I like my job but it’s quite difficult – you have to be very careful when treating people. There are two main steps when installing false teeth: tying and gluing. I don’t use painkillers so I stop when a patient is in too much pain. Teeth are attached to nerves so of course it’s painful and sometimes dangerous. I’ll tell my patient to see a dentist for painkillers before coming to see me.

I spent a year in Jakarta learning how to make false teeth with my uncle, who’s an expert. He learned the skill at a young age and even now at 50 he’s still good at what he does.

I opened my first clinic five years ago in Jakarta and now I have one here in Denpasar, which I opened when I came to Bali in 1999. The equipment I have here was brought over from the first one in Jakarta. I came to Bali hoping to find success for my business and for a peaceful lifestyle; despite many beliefs and religions there is little conflict. Also, Bali isn’t too far from my home in Jember, East Java.

I finish work at 5pm and go home, which is also in Denpasar, to see my wife and two daughters. I take a bath and spend time playing with my children, but then I have to leave again for my part-time job doing presentations of health products. I come home again around midnight and am in bed by between 1 and 2am, with a hope for customers the next day.

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